The world's biggest paper and board maker Stora Enso yesterday reported better than expected underlying third-quarter profits and said it had seen some minor improvement in demand.
"Some modest improvement in demand is now apparent in advertising driven paper grades, but only from low levels," Stora Enso said in a statement.
The firm's third-quarter pre-tax profit excluding non-recurring items fell 32 per cent year-on-year to €196.8 million, above the median forecast in a Reuters poll but within the range of analysts' estimates.
But the results were deep in the red if the company's third-quarter one-offs including an impairment charge of €1.17 billion on its loss-making North American operations is taken into account. The huge non-cash writedown had been announced in August.
Global paper markets have been depressed for almost two years as ailing advertising markets have dented paper demand from newspaper and magazine publishers and direct advertisers.
Finnish-Swedish Stora Enso is the first big Nordic forest products group to report third-quarter earnings. Its release follows shaky quarterly results and weak outlooks from North American rivals including Georgia Pacific last week and preceeds results on Wednesday from International Paper.